Product Type:

Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile

Using Service (US):


Program Status:

Full Rate Production (FRP) - Block I

Prime Contractor:

Raytheon Company

The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM)

About the ESSM Program:

The Raytheon RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is an improved version of the NATO RIM-7P Sea Sparrow missile, designed for ship self-defense on aircraft carriers, assault ships, and destroyers. The ESSM provides an evolved kinematically improved aft-end missile section for mating, as an all up round, with the modified RIM-7P forebody guidance and warhead section. The ESSM provides the capability to counter high G maneuvering anti-ship missiles, expand the battle space, and increase system firepower. Also, ESSM provides robust defense against asymmetric threats such as small surface craft, low velocity air threats and helos.

The ESSM has an 8-inch diameter forebody that tapers to a 10-inch diameter rocket motor. The forebody includes a guidance section uses a radome-protected antenna for semi-active homing and attaches to an improved warhead section. A high-thrust, solid-propellant 10-inch diameter rocket motor provides high thrust for maneuverability with tail control via a Thrust Vector Controller (TVC). The effective tracking performance and agile kinematics of the ESSM result from S-band and X-band midcourse uplinks, high average velocity and tail control, increased firepower through a vertical quad pack launcher, and greater lethality with a warhead designed for defeating hardened Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCM).

The ESSM is designed for 'quad-pack' use in the Mk 41 vertical launching system from Lockheed Martin used on DDG 51 AEGIS Destroyers and CG 47 AEGIS Guided Missile Cruisers; and in the Raytheon Mk 57 Vertical Launching System on the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer. Also, the ESSM can be launched from the Raytheon Mk 29 Mod4 Guided Missile Launching System (GMLS). Mk 29 GMLS is also the launch platform for the RIM-7 NATO Sea Sparrow missile. In February 2008, ESSM began integration into Ship Self-Defense Systems (SSDS) on Nimitz Class aircraft carriers, on LHD-7/8, and LHA 6 America Class amphibious assault ships.

ESSM is a cooperative effort among 10 of 12 NATO Sea Sparrow nations governed by a production Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and multinational work-share arrangement. In addition to the United States, ESSM Consortium Members include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Turkey. The first production ESSM was delivered in late 2002 to the U.S. Navy by Raytheon Missile Systems and has been in full operational use in the U.S. since 2004. On August 2, 2012 Raytheon announced the delivery of the 2,000th ESSM to the NATO SeaSparrow Consortium.

Price/Unit Cost:

The RIM-162 ESSM has a unit cost of $840,000 to $970,000 depending on configuration (in FY 2014). Missiles compatible with the Mk 29 GMLS cost $841,900 per All-Up Round, while missiles compatible with the Mk 41 VLS cost 967,800 per All-Up Round.


The mission of the ESSM is to provide the U.S. Navy and allies of the United States with a missile with performance to defeat current and projected threats that possess low-altitude, high-velocity, and maneuver characteristics beyond the engagement capabilities of the RIM-7P Sea Sparrow.

FY 2014 DoD Program:

Continues Block I full rate production. In FY 2014, the Navy will purchase 53 RIM-162 missiles at a cost of $76.8M.

FY 2015 DoD Program:

Continues full rate production for the Block I ESSM. The FY 15 budget request will support the purchase of 104 missiles plus the U.S. share of support as defined in the MOU. Begins the planned Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) for ESSM Block II in FY 2015.

For more information, click to see the Complete FY 2015 ESSM Budget.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Raytheon Company

Specifications DoD Spending FY2015 Budget

Last Update: June 10, 2014.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard /// (jkasper@bga-aeroweb.com)

External Resources:

Raytheon: RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM)

Raytheon: Mk 29 Guided Missile Launching System (GMLS)

Lockheed Martin: Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)

Raytheon: Mk 57 Vertical Launching System

YouTube: RIM-162 ESSM | YouTube Videos

Fact Sheet: Not available.

RIM-162 U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
DoD Purchases of RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12/13 + Budget for FYs 2014 + 2015

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the RIM-162 ESSM Program

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

RIM-162 ESSM Purchases (NAVY)

Missile Specifications: RIM-162 ESSM

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Primary Function: Surface-to-air and surface-to-surface radar-guided missile
Prime Contractor: Raytheon Co.
ESSM Users:
(Consortium Members): Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece,
Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, United States
(Foreign Military Sales): Japan, United Arab Emirates
Propulsion: NAMMO Raufoss Mk 143 Mod 0 solid fuel rocket
Length: 12 ft (3.64 m)
Diameter: 10 in (25.4 cm)
Weight: 622 lbs (282 kg)
Speed: Mach 4+
Range: 27+ nm/31+ miles (50+ km)
Guidance System: Raytheon semi-active on continuous wave or interrupted continuous wave illumination
Warhead: Annular blast fragmentation warhead, 90 lbs (40.5 kg)
Applications/Platforms: U.S. Navy Surface Platforms: Nimitz Class aircraft carriers (CVN 68 Class),
LHA 6 America Class, LHD-7/8, DDG 51 AEGIS Destroyer, AEGIS Cruiser (CG 47 Class),
and the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer.
Price/Unit Cost: $840,000-$970,000 per All-Up Round (AUR) - price depends on variant
Deployed: Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2004

Defense Program

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